The Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has charged an Arizona financial advisor with defrauding investors out of more than $10 million.
“The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced the filing of a civil enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona against Cory Williams of Gilbert, Arizona, and his company, Williams Advisory Group (WAG), charging them with defrauding 40 investors out of at least $13 million in connection with a commodity pool they operated,” the CFTC stated.
According to the commission’s complaint against Williams, he had, from at least April 2014 through December 2016, “individually and as agent and officer of Williams Advisory Group, LLC (‘WAG’), fraudulently solicited and directly accepted at least $13 million from at least 40 individuals and/or entities to participate in a pooled investment vehicle for the purported purpose of trading commodity futures contracts, in violation of the Commodity Exchange Act.”
The complaint went on to explain that Williams had “traded significant volumes of E-Mini S&P 500 futures contracts in his personal trading accounts and lost more than $8.3 million of the $13 million of pool participants’ funds originally taken in, while at the same time fraudulently telling participants he was trading on their behalf at a profit. Williams used the remaining funds received from participants to pay approximately $1.3 million for his personal expenses and to return approximately $3.4 million to some participants.”
James McDonald, the newly appointed Director of the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement, stated: “As alleged, Cory Williams lied to his victims to convince them to invest millions of dollars in his fund. Williams promised to invest their money using his expertise, backed up by a track record of profitable investments. But, in reality, Williams simply made up his profitable past, and he spent his victims’ money on himself—using some of it to fund his own dining, travel, and other personal expenses. To perpetrate this fraud, Williams preyed on those closest to him, including members of his family, community, and church. The charges in this case send a message that the CFTC will continue to take swift action to stop such fraudulent schemes and to hold fraudsters accountable for their misconduct.”
The CFTC is seeking full restitution of ill-gotten gains, punitive damages, and a ban on further commodities trading by the defendant.
As a warning against fraudsters such as Mr Williams, the CFTC has published the following signs of a possible fraudulent sales pitch:
- Lead you to believe you can profit from current news already known to the public.
“As a result of that hurricane, the price of oil futures will increase substantially.”
- Made through word of mouth referrals or emails from friends, relatives, members of churches or social groups – one fraudulent pool operator even solicited his cancer support group.
- Claims to know unique market trends or to have a record of highly profitable trading.
- Promises quick, large and guaranteed returns.
- Contacts you asking for personal information such as your full name, phone number, email or home address.
- Requests cash immediately.